Nike Could Move Some Manufacturing Jobs Closer to Home

Nike running shoesThe apparel company said in a press release that its partnership with Apollo Global Management will acquire apparel suppliers and textile firms in North America and build new manufacturing facilities and logistics hubs for Nike. The partnership has already acquired a Pennsylvania-based apparel manufacturer.

Apollo co-founder Josh Harris said in a company statement that there is a “tremendous opportunity” to meet the rising demand for “responsive apparel manufacturing” to serve increasing customer expectations for products delivered when and where they want them. Harris said they would work with management to develop a regional supplier capable of serving the needs of a “wide variety of customers.”

Wall Street Journal reported that Nike has recently struggled with logistics issues including complaints by some retailers of product delays in 2015. Moving things closer to home isn’t just about meeting the market needs. Vamp.com, a footwear industry site, called the announcement “a major manufacturing shift to the Americas” and said the move to American manufacturing comes as issues of sustainability, workers rights, and responsible sourcing are “closer to the minds of consumers than ever before.”

“This allows us to make product for the consumer, with the consumer, where the consumer lives, in real time.”

Nike has made a number of changes and partnerships in recent years to address the changing market. The company opened a 2.8-million square foot distribution center in Memphis in 2015 and recently entered into a partnership with Flextronics International for automation and customization initiatives. Nike also partnered with Belgium-based European Logistics Campus to “accelerate the company’s drive toward the supply chain of the future.”

The company announced last year that it would also invest more money into advanced footwear manufacturing if the TPP free trade agreement was approved. The company said in a statement that it would allow it to accelerate development of new manufacturing methods and a domestic supply chain to support US-based manufacturing. Nike said the advanced manufacturing model would create up to 10,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs in the U.S. over the next decade.

While most of the company’s products are manufactured overseas, making them here would also it to deliver products faster, create innovate new types of footwear and provide customized solutions for sustainability goals.

Some other fashion manufacturers are making more investments in American plants. Adidas also recently announced it will open a new factory near Atlanta, Ga., in 2017 that will move production closer to consumers and to counteract long shipping times and rising wages in Asia. Adidas brand director Eric Liedtke said in an article at Reuters that moving the factory closer to home would allow the company to customize more products for consumers.

“This allows us to make product for the consumer, with the consumer, where the consumer lives, in real time,” said Liedtke.

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